THE Daily Mirror’s June 14 edition with a story entitled “Anti Zim Demos in UK” had strong and painful impacts on all Zimbabwean exiles. We laughed and were disappointed at the same time when we read the story on the publication’s website
. The reporter departed from the correct facts and decided to reproduce historical statements of conspiracy closely associated with columnists in state newspapers.
We could not believe that the government was sending a crusade headed by Herbert Nkala and Supa Mandiwanzira to woo Zimbabweans in the diaspora like myself to send money back home (which we have always been doing since we arrived here in the UK) so as to help in the “economic recovery”.
The previous day’s publication by the Daily Mirror had announced that the government (probably through the forex we have been sending home) has bought about 12 new fighter jets from China in an effort “to fulfill its constitutional obligation to secure the country”. Moreover, the very same government denied us the right to vote saying we are unpatriotic.
Contrary to the subsequent misrepresentation of our demonstrations, we wanted to advise the visiting emissaries of President Mugabe’s government on how best this issue of foreign currency can be done.
What Nkala and Mandiwanzira were doing was just mere street begging which will not help the country. (Perhaps Tsvangirai’s words of every one becoming a begger have come to pass.)
We wanted to tell the emissaries that if the quest for foreign (British) money can lead to such proportions, then why not simply “get real” and start cordial diplomatic relations with that country. After that, instead of wasting money to fund a huge delegation (probably travelling on first or business class tickets) all the paperwork will be done in Harare at the country’s embassy at Corner House along Samora Machel Avenue.
Simple agreements (like the ones done by the Malawian and South African governments in the 1970s and 1980s) will be made to the effect that part of taxation done on Zimbabweans’ pay-slips in the UK will be channelled back to Zimbabwe on a government to government level with no commissions whatsoever. In this way, every “exile” will be contributing and as the UK government’s finance ministry will point out every penny sent back to Zimbabwe is in a transparent manner. Simple!
More interesting was the fact that the emissaries came alone without the Zimbabwean media. To this they told us that visas were denied by the UK embassy in Zimbabwe. We were very disappointed that Prof Jonathan Moyo who has started this anti-foreign media crusade through his diabolic Aippa was now ruining lives and careers of young journalists within the state media empire. We invited the chagrin of Zimbabwe embassy staff when we told them to write back to His Excellency that Moyo’s laws (which bear the signature of His Excellency) have now started a reverse route as the UK embassy in Harare was merely carrying out a reciprocal protocol over many of its journalists who were chased out of the country and are now forced to cover Zimbabwe events from South Africa. A simple act of exercising “sovereignty”.
We were shell shocked that the Zimbabwean authorities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made frantic efforts for the scribes to have visas. Why didn’t the people at the helm of the Information ministry, Herald, Sunday Mail or Newsnet themselves try to persuade the UK visa office?
The chickens have come home to roost. Geoff Nyarota was correct when he recently wrote that journalism in Zimbabwe is now being deprived.